The Pentagon has announced the killing of Abu Sayyaf, Islamic State commander, responsible for the financial transactions of the Jihadist group in the oil sector. According to reports from U.s. Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, U.S. special forces have carried out a raid in eastern Syria, onthe Amr. Abu Sayyaf’s wife, Umm Sayyaf, is also supposed to have been captured during the operation.
The state Syrian media had announced yesterday the killing of at least 40 Islamic fighters from the army of Damascus, amongst whom a commander responsible for managing petroleum sites, during an assault on a major oil field under the control of the Jihadist group, Omar. The Commander had been identified as Abu al Teem al Saudi, “oil Minister of the Islamic State”. The announcement was interpreted as the result of a joint operation between Damascus and the United States, but the spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, Bernadette Meehan, has denied any formo f cooperation with the Syrian regime.
The raid last night in Eastern Syria led to the killing of Abu Sayyaf, also known as Mohammed Shalabi, was conducted by a team of Delta force of the U.S. army which had been transported onboard Back Hawk helicopters and Osprey aircraft. As soon as they touched ground near a building where Abu Sayyaf was believed to be, a clash took place between the military and the Jihadists, who used women and children as human shields. “It was a real battle,” said a Pentagon source, according to which, dozens of militants have been killed as well as Abu Sayyaf, that despite being amongst the four ‘super-wanted’ by the American authorities, is not considered as being the most wanted on the priority list.
According to the White House, in addition to being responsible for the smuggling of oil and gas into Syria, the leader killed “was also involved in the group’s military operations”. Still, the source claims that special forces tried to capture Abu Sayyaf not only for his role, but also to try and get information about possible Americans still held hostage by the Jihadists (among them Austin Tice, journalist kidnapped in August 2012 at Damascus), information that Abu Sayyaf’s arrested wife could also be in possession of.
Traslation by Marina Stronati